Royal gift or ‘stolen’ gem? Calls for UK to return 500 carat Great Star of Africa diamond to Nigeria
Wed, Aug 30, 2014, 06:03 PM
A £500m diamond, found in the remote South African wilderness in 2002 with a history of conflict with local tribes, has sparked controversy and calls for its return to its long-lost family home.
The 1,250 carat Great Star of Africa was found in the isolated Tuli area of the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi game reserve.
It is thought to have come from a meteorite that exploded 65 million years ago.
However, it belongs to a family of nine large stones the history of which stretches back to ancient Egypt.
The gems were part of a collection that was stolen and taken to a private collector in the UK in the 1970s.
In 2009, a private UK family announced they had been forced to cancel a £1m diamond purchase when they were not told about the heritage of the jewellery and the source of the stones.
The group, who did not wish to be named, said it was in a “very distressed” frame of mind to learn of the theft, the theft of its entire collection, and the fact that the stones had to be sold online.
A UK collector wanted to buy back the Great Star of Africa, but discovered it had been stolen
They said it was the “best diamond that had been stolen from the UK, and if it was to be returned it would be given to a person of African origin, in Africa”.
The UK government has been contacted about the theft of the Great Star of Africa, but the department has not offered any comment.
It was found in 2005 in a remote part of South Africa by police investigating the killing of a lion.
It came from a meteorite that exploded 65 million years ago
The star was sold at a high-end auction for £1.35 million at the